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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Four weeks to go and a mini-taper week

Long runs with the stupid hamstring wrap. 
Four weeks to Boston! You know what that means? That means that two weeks ago, when I pulled my hamstring, I was six weeks from Boston, which means...I once again got an injury six weeks out from a goal marathon (same over a year ago for Houston and recently for Rocket City). Somehow, I weathered this one without any time off, so perhaps I'm getting more tolerant of the miles: but! I can't help but wonder if long training cycles just aren't for me. I think I do better with shorter cycles and shorter tapers, but I am not experienced enough to go off on my own for a whole training cycle. Our plans are written by the Power Milers group coach. While he can't individualize them for our 50+ strong group, obviously, this year he kindly separated us into two general groups, low and high mileage. It's super nice of him to write this stuff up for us, and even take into account the other group races we'll probably be running, and he doesn't get paid. So I want to both appreciate his time and skill (he has many paying clients and loads of experience, plus he learned at the feet of a master: his dad is a coaching legend in NOLA) and also acknowledge that I've gotten faster running with this group. More injured? Yes, for marathons, I have been more injured (2/2 with training cycles!). But I've never yet completed one of the marathon training plans, either. I want to at least complete a cycle once before I decide that they're too intense for me or too many miles. If I make it to Boston healthy, it will be a litmus test. Will I be fast enough to justify the tougher training?

Speaking of group races, the Power Milers are traveling to Mobile for the Azalea Trail 10k next week. I am very excited to be competing as a team. We're sending one women's team and three men's teams. To add to the fun, the men's teams are speed-balanced, so this is going to be an all-out competition for place! Heading into the race, we're pulling back on mileage a touch this week: our easy days are 5 minutes shorter, and our long Friday tempo is replaced by Saturday's race. I hope those changes make the difference between tired legs and fresh legs, because I'd REALLY like a 10k PR. My PR is 40:59, and that's from years ago. Since then, every 10k race has been a disaster one way or another. As recently as January I ran a painful 41+ 10k, but that was a day when I was really very ill. And now that I have a better grasp on my anemia situation, I should be able to avoid that scenario. I am making sure not to miss a single iron dose leading up to the race, since every single milligram counts right now (until I replenish my iron stores, my day-to-day iron intake impacts how I feel. Normally you have a huge buffer of stored iron to prevent those swings). I'm also trying to get this concept of the 10k being my Achilles heal out of my head. There's no reason that this race will be bad just because it's a 10k. I just need to figure out a workable race strategy, stick to it, and run my ability. Sure, it's not a distance I am "good" at, but that's why it needs practice! So if any of you have any 10k tips or strategies, please share. I remember a good friend and the coach of Varsity Sports running group gave me the "ten-minute" tip before: think of the 10k in 10-minute segments rather than miles, and run them like this: 1. Go out not too fast or too slow during the excitement of the start. 2. Assess how you feel, choose and settle into a pace. 3. Assess placement in the race and run strategically to pass others. 4. Run as hard as you can, hang on, don't die.
Any other thoughts are appreciated!


  1. Regarding the iron, it is incredible to me the difference it makes! I started working with a nutritionist and she had me have my blood tested. Based on those results she had me start an iron supplement. Initially I took 2 a day now I'm down to 1. It has made a significant difference in how I feel and my hair isn't falling out as much, which is an unexpected benefit. I think your previous challenges with the 10K are frustrating but I think with everything you have been doing you are going to rock this coming race and do exceptionally well!!!

  2. Bummer about being injured again. Ugh. But hopefully you will be healed by the time Boston rolls around.

    Have you gotten anymore info since the ultrasound showed that mass? You may have addressed this on social media but I'm off FB/IG for Lent! I've been thinking of you! I'm glad the iron supplements are helping!!

    Good luck on the 10k! Hopefully you can get past that mental block of thinking you aren't good at that distance!

  3. Ha, I don't know about helpful tips, but I have run a lot of 10Ks. For me my best ones time-wise have always felt "I want to die, there's no way I can do that again" by the halfway point so when I'm in good shape I have to force myself to go out much, much faster than I really want to and just trust. But that's just me.

  4. It's a tough call to make re: longer vs. shorter cycles. I think you could maybe strike a balance of not doing such high mileage until like 6 weeks out and just be in the upper 50's until that point. And then at the six week point, ramp it up into the high 60s, low 70s. Could you maybe talk with your coach about some general principles of how you would adapt the plan, without asking him to prescribe a day-by-day schedule? In any event, I think you can break 40 in the 10K. I am excited for you.